I don’t know where to start! There are so many weird and outright odd things about the Dublin Christmas Light Proceedings that I could write pages and pages.
But let’s start with the barriers in our city first. No, I am not talking about physical walls, they would be easy to take down. Instead I am talking about political, commercial and social walls! And they are here to stay!
Dublin City has THREE not one Christmas Lights event. Why? Because Northsiders can’t with Southsiders and vice versa and the traders organisation “Dublin Town” can’t do it with Dublin City and vice versa. So as a result there was a Switching on of Christmas Lights in Grafton Street on Thursday 13 November, one in Henry Street on Sunday 16 November and then there is the Christmas Tree in O’Connell Street, which will be switched on two weeks later on 30 November.
Doesn’t make sense in the slightest, but, hey, it is three mini festivals for people to go on the street, so I guess we shouldn’t complain.
Apart from that, the Christmas Tree Lighting is the main job of the year for the Lord Mayor and why would we need a powerless Lord Mayor if it wasn’t for switching on the Christmas Tree!?
They could press ONE button in the middle of O’Connell Bridge, but it seems that we are happy with the walls we have. – Oh, and I better shut up about the SEPARATE Christmas Lighting event just a stone-throw from the City Centre, at Smithfield, right?
The next odd thing is the timing and I am not growing tired from pointing this out year after year:
Bringing the Christmas Lights so much forward to mid-November can only be driven by the wish or hope to extend the Christmas buying period through this “trick.” The thinking must be that if people start buying two weeks earlier, they will spend more money throughout the 6 weeks up to Christmas. But is that really the case? I don’t know about you, but I still buy the initially intended number and type of presents for the people I need to get presents for. As it all culminates in that one event, there is no “buying more”. Even if the Christmas Shopping period (as defined by the lights) ran for 4 months, I would still buy the same number of presents. So a longer Shopping Period makes absolutely no sense from a commercial point of view with regards to present buying.
Where it might make sense is for people who come to the City and who normally wouldn’t come. No, this is not the country folk, this is tourists…in a few years time! Until last year Dublin City was void of a good Christmas Market. This year a new approach is taken and the Christmas Stall Row (It is one long row along St. Stephen’s Green, not a market in the usual sense.) still has to prove itself, but it could work and if it does, that’s a great thing. Mind you, though, visitors won’t know about it for a while because traditionally Dublin is void of good Christmas market and that is the reputation we have.
Will 600,000 additional visitors come to Dublin because of the Christmas market as Dublin Town claims? And will these 600k people leave EUR 20mio behind in shops, restaurants and hotels? Maybe in a few years time if the Dublin Christmas Market manages to become as good as the Nürnberg or Vienna Christmas Market, but until then, these figures are total nonsense.
BUT…Christmas is a great time of the year, so let’s enjoy it and let’s hope that the Christmas Market will be a big success!